Having switched from an OPOL with Majority Language (ML) strategy to an exclusively minority language at home policy with a strict ban on the ML when my eldest was aged 4 still bears some after-effect. My daughter is now 6, but with her headstrong personality, she still occasionally tries to resist the minority languages (ml). Through people’s comments, she is slowly realising that she is very fortunate to be reared trilingual, but she still wished she could use only the ML all round. Her good fortune of speaking 3 languages spoken in many countries worldwide remains something too abstract for her.
However, the other day, I was hit by an idea that you might find helpful if like us you have a bilingual child resisting the ml.
We received the latest freebie from the Lil’Ollo Freebies Club which happened to be a beautiful World Map Activity Kit to colour in and label with your own details. The map has a beautiful and appealing design for children. It enables to shrink the world to an A3 size and make it a lot more visual for children.
As I took it out, it hit me that colour-coding it with the countries that spoke our 3 languages (English, Spanish and French) would help my daughter visualise all that everybody had been telling her: she is lucky to speak languages spoken worldwide.
If your ml does not happen to be widely spoken, don’t panic: you can still use the map colouring to locate your country and value how exceptional it is and how privileged you child is to speak it. The colouring in is just an educational tool to convey a message.
Our colour-coding got a bit messy with countries whose primary language was English or French and those who had their own language yet whose population also widely speak English or French; hence the end result will not show nicely here. However, with the hindsight of this first experience, I decided to repeat it quickly for the purpose of illustrating this post, using the following colour-code:
- Spanish-speaking countries – yellow
- English-speaking countries – red
- French-speaking countries – dark blue
- Countries who have their own language yet also widely speak English – pink
- Countries who have their own language yet also widely speak French – light blue
- Countries where our mls are not widely spoken- purple
I will ask my daughter to colour in the cute little characters, stick the labels with our personal details, and keep this map with her “Lift-the-flap Picture Atlas” by Jane Chisholm and Helen Lee, for future reference if one day the topic of where our minority languages are spoken ever comes up again. 😉
1.Keep an atlas and Wikipedia at hand; with over 180 countries in the world, you are bound to be unfamiliar with some of them!
2. Use coloured pencils so you can erase if you get your colour wrong (bound to happen too!).